Wine in China












In western (i.e. non-Chinese) books, journals and reports very little information can be found on Chinese wine and other alcoholic drinks. That is strange, because China has a cultural history that extends over thousands of years. China's culture was and still is highly interesting in many respects. During that history alcoholic drinks played an important role, and also in our days this is still the case.

Notable exceptions to this lack of coherent information are the following book and an Internet 'publication':

• Löwenstein, A. (Andreas) (1991). Viniculture in the People's Republic of China. [in German: Weinbau in der Volksrepublik China]. Saarbrücken -->, Verlag Rita Dadder. ISBN 3-926406-57-7 (M.Sc. thesis)

.... and:

• XU Ganrong & BAO Tongfa (1998). Grandiose Survey of Chinese Alcoholic Drinks and Beverages. Published through: School of Biotechnology, Wuxi University of Light Industry, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China. Available at Internet: {http://www.wxuli.edu.cn/zhgjiu/umain.htm} url changed 2003-02-22

It is worth noting that China has good capabilities for vine growing and for wine making: it has a wide variety of soils, many different climates and micro-climates, indigenous and imported grapes, as well as a huge population that constitutes a tremendous potential market, ... For these reasons this book attempts to summarize 'the history and the contemporary development' of wine in China.

The manuscript is based on the study of the scarce non-Chinese literature sources available, on a visit paid to China in 1996 (including 8 wineries, 2 ministries, and an agricultural university with an oenology department), and on internet-information.

The author has a long-standing relation with China since 1977 and visited the country for a variety of reasons about 20 times. His knowledge, however, of the Chinese language is almost non-existent. Since 1977 he considered contributing to the 'building of bridges' between China and The Netherlands (university co-operation; friendship-city-relation Eindhoven-Nanjing; friendship-province-relation Noord-Brabant-Jiangsu, industrial contacts, people-to-people projects, etc.) as more important than trying to speak some Chinese. For this project, however, this illiteracy proved to be a real handicap. Yet it is his hope and expectation that the reader will find enough information, data, thought and analyses that are of genuine interest to her or him.

It is important to note, that culture serves as the starting point for this manuscript. The use of alcoholic drinks in its variety of applications is intimately related with the social, ethical, religious, economical, artistic and other aspects of life over all periods of time.

It will be made clear that the Chinese connotation of jiu - 'wine' is far more extensive than in the non-Chinese world; it implies beer, strong beer (sake), grape and other fruit juice, rice and other wheat 'wines', a large variety of distilled products, medicinal wines, etc.

After a brief summary of this broad spectrum of drinks, attention is focused on the true grape-wines, the climates of their regions, the soils and the grapes.

Next over 30 wineries, pure Chinese or operating as joint ventures, are mentioned with their characteristics as far as these could be collected and evaluated under the language limitations mentioned above.

For the further development of this grape-wine industry the education and research are of paramount importance, and hence they are discussed briefly.

The prospects of wine in China is the concluding topic of this manuscript. It explores the internal market, the potential of export (China -> World) and the chances of import (World -> China).

Due to the peculiarities of the Far-East, inherent to the people from the 'West', a number of appendices is added; hopefully they enhance the usefulness of the report to those who are genuinely interested to follow up some line of contacts and interaction. If that may be the case, then the time and the energy put into the study and compilation of this manuscript have not been wasted.

P. Ey


laatste wijziging: 23-02-2003